We study the ultrafast insulator-to-metal transition in nanoparticles of , obtained by ion implantation and self-assembly in silica. The nonmagnetic, strongly correlated compound undergoes a reversible phase transition, which can be photoinduced on an ultrafast time scale. In the nanoparticles, prompt formation of the metallic state results in the appearance of surface-plasmon resonance. We achieve large, ultrafast enhancement of optical absorption in the near-infrared spectral region that encompasses the wavelength range for optical-fiber communications. One can further tailor the response of the nanoparticles by controlling their shape.
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